How to make your marriage work

Marc and Zoë Hartog shared their thoughts on a successful partnership as part of a Channel 4 documentary


Laughter, space and a healthy sex life are the secrets to a happy marriage, according to Marc and Zoë Hartog.

The couple have shared their thoughts on a successful partnership as part of a Channel 4 documentary.

The Hartogs, who live in Radlett, Hertfordshire, have been married for 17 years and were one of five couples to invite camera crews into their home for How to Make Your Marriage Work, which is due to be broadcast next week.

Mr Hartog, a 44-year-old magazine publisher, said: “Laughing is the key, especially with us having young children.

“We have a four -year-old and an eight-year-old and they are full on and argue at the moment about everything.”

The show looks at couples who were married in the London borough of Brent, which has one of the highest marriage rates and lowest number of divorces in the country.

Each pair has a different story to tell and talk frankly about their lives together, sex, child-rearing and infidelity.

When asked by producers how important sex was to their marriage, Mr Hartog said it wasn’t “the most important thing”, but added: “More of it might be nice — if Zoe was up for it.”

Reflecting on taking part in the programme, he told the JC that respecting his wife’s independence was also a key factor.

“We try to have fun and spend time together but we also have our own interests,” he said. “We give each other space and respect that.”

Mrs Hartog, who was married at 25, said sitting in the same room as her husband and not speaking to him for the entire evening was acceptable: “People feel forced to fill silences. We are not like that. We had a good few years together before we had children where we did a lot of fun things and now we enjoy time as a family.”

Marrying a Jewish man was imperative, she said, and had helped to keep the couple on the same page.

“I think it is important to be with someone who wants to live their life the same way as you do,” she said.

Mr Hartog agreed: “There is something about the sanctity of marriage within the Jewish religion.”

The couple both lost their mothers shortly after they married and said the experience had brought them closer together.

Mrs Hartog said: “They were in their 50s. It is now that we are getting old and closer to that age that we start to think about it more. It is hard to imagine in 10 years one of us could lose the other.”

Mr Hartog said: “I remember Zoë’s mum really grilled me before we got married. She was classic, asking me what my intentions were and how much I earnt.”

His wife added: “I was 25 and she would say to me, ‘I don’t want you getting left on the shelf’.”


How to Make Your Marriage Work is on Channel 4 on August 17

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